Grade 7 student Jill Ding took first place at the Victoria Chess Championship earlier this month. By winning every match she played, Jill became the top chess player in Grades 4-7 and the first girl to win the Howard Wu trophy, which is named for the city of Victoria’s grandmaster.
“It feels good to be proud of something,” says Jill, who began playing chess with her father when she was in kindergarten.
Jill also competed in the national chess championship in Quebec last year and is currently ranked 8th in the country, out of all female players under 12 years of age. For Jill, who began to play more seriously two-and-a-half years ago, chess is an enjoyable hobby.
“It’s fun, it’s strategic,” she says. “I enjoy it.”
Jill says her strategy in most of her matches is to get all of her minor pieces, such as pawns, out of the way then to place her king in a safe place and calculate what her opponent is doing. In chess, she says, all the pieces work together.
At the Victoria Chess Club, Jill plays with competitors both younger and older than herself. Currently, she’s preparing for the provincial championships, which will take place this May in Vancouver.
“Last year I did pretty well and this year I plan to get a medal,” says Jill. “I’m on a great lead.”